The UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic said on Tuesday that it was investigating new allegations of sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers serving in the MINUSCA mission in the country’s capital Bangui.
The UN mission is "investigating fresh allegations concerning both sexual exploitation and abuse and other misconduct by UN Peacekeepers and international forces in Bangui." UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The UN said it had informed three countries of the claims without naming them, but sources said the soldiers were from Gabon, Egypt and Morocco.
According to UN rules, it is the troop-contributing country’s call to start an investigation and prosecute soldiers who are accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.
Mission Chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga told soldiers and police in Bangui that there would be "zero tolerance" for such actions and "no complacency for perpetrators," he added.
New Zealand's UN ambassador, Gerard van Bohemen, told reporters -following a closed-door meeting by the UN Security Council- on Tuesday that he was "really sick and tired" that such allegations kept surfacing.
With the latest allegations the number of sexual abuse cases targeting UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic has reached 26.
An independent review panel last month harshly criticised the UN’s mishandling of the abuse charges in CAR, defining it as "seriously flawed" and a "gross institutional failure."
Last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon discharged the head of the 10,000-strong MINUSCA force over the increasing number of cases, but the charges have continued to emerge.
In April 2015, another sexual allegation against the peacekeepers was revealed. French soldiers were accused of raping 10 underage boys in exchange for food between December 2013 and June 2014.